Free Barrier Island Lighting Workshops Feb. 27, 29
Escambia County's Natural Resources Management department will host two free workshops Feb. 27 and 29 to help educate the public and answer questions about the newly updated Barrier Island Lighting Ordinance.
Workshop topics will include an overview of ordinance requirements, the basics of wildlife friendly lighting, and lighting retrofit tips and tricks. Workshops are designed for property owners and managers and are open to the public. Attendees are asked to register in advance:
Pensacola Beach Barrier Island Lighting Workshop
Perdido Key Barrier Island Lighting Workshop
The Barrier Island Lighting Ordinance was first passed in 2013 and required wildlife- or turtle-friendly lighting for exterior lights visible from Pensacola Beach. The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners approved an amendment to the ordinance in 2023 which included new wildlife friendly lighting requirements for Perdido Key and updates to the existing Pensacola Beach requirements. Read the full ordinance here.
On Perdido Key, properties south of Semmes Road must utilize wildlife-friendly lighting for exterior lights to protect sea turtle and beach mice habitat. On Pensacola Beach, any light visible from the marine beach must utilize wildlife-friendly lighting to protect sea turtle nesting habitat. The new lighting regulations are effective for new construction; however, a five-year grace period gives existing properties until Jan. 1, 2028, to come into compliance.
Both sea turtles and beach mice rely on naturally dark skies and are negatively impacted by excessive artificial lighting. Artificial lighting can deter nesting sea turtles and cause both adults and hatchlings to disorient away from the water and towards human structures and roadways. Beach mice are nocturnal and excessive artificial light can deter normal foraging behaviors and increase risk of predation. Wildlife- or turtle-friendly lighting utilizes long wavelength, low wattage and fully shielded light fixtures, which reduces the amount of light visible to wildlife.
For questions about the ordinance or wildlife-friendly lighting, the public may contact Samantha Pitts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-595-3460.